News • August 12, 2017

RHB Singapore Cup 2017: Cheetahs Wary Of Nagaworld Despite Advantage


RHB Singapore Cup 2017 (Quarter-Final, Second Leg)

Nagaworld FC (CAM) vs Hougang United

(14 August, Monday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Written by: Rashid Sulaiman

Despite a three-goal advantage over Nagaworld FC, Hougang United head coach Philippe Aw feels that they have to be wary of their opponents when they meet in the second leg of the RHB Singapore Cup 2017 quarter-final at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday night.

The Cheetahs cruised to a 4-1 victory over Nagaworld in the first leg through playmaker Fumiya Kogure’s first-half brace and further strikes from Pablo Rodriguez and Fairoz Hasan. Atuheire Kipson pulled one back from the spot but it proved inconsequential.

With nothing to lose, Nagaworld head coach Meas Channa has not hidden his intention of going on the offensive from the get go.

“For the next leg, we hope to get a better result. Even if we can’t score four goals, at least a 1-0 win or a draw will be good,” Channa said.

“We will try to attack in the second leg. If we lose, we will still go back to Cambodia. We are already losing (trailing 4-1 on aggregate) when we start the second leg. So why do we need to play defensively? We will go out and attack.

That is exactly what Aw is worried about as he intends to keep his cards close to his chest and keep his counterpart guessing as they did in the first leg.

Channa was caught out by surprise as he had prepared his gameplan to counter the front three of Kogure, Fairoz and Azhar Sairudin but were not prepared when Rodriguez started for Hougang.

“This is what I talked about to be unpredictable and we did it again,” said Aw. “It is good that opponents are kept guessing. They have to work hard to analyse our team. I am happy Pablo was a big presence for us in the first leg and they struggled to cope with him.

“We have a three goal cushion but football is a funny game. When PSG beat Barcelona and everybody said the contest is over, it is not. If we think that we are in the semi-finals now and take it easy, then we are asking for trouble.”

“We need to recover well and see who is fresh and fit. If we need to put in fresher and hungrier players so we can get the job done to win, then we will. But no way are we saying that we will take it easy. Nagaworld will not give up and will come out fighting.”

If coach Meas Channa and co are to stand a chance of progressing into the next round however, they not only have to tighten things at the back but also be clinical in the final third too.

The Cambodians relied heavily on their two foreign strikers George Kelechi and Atuheire Kipson, but the duo sorely lacked the support from midfield.

“Even though we lost, I was happy with the team’s performance as they put in good shifts. We were able to keep possession of the ball and I thought we were unlucky not to have scored with the chances we had in the game,” explained Channa after their first leg loss.

“We didn’t expect that their no. 9 (Pablo Rodriguez) would start and we were surprised. He caused a lot of problems with his height as Hougang kept pumping high balls at us. We played well but Hougang were still the better team.”

Nagaworld will be without defender Cheng Meng while Lionel Tan is not available for Hougang as the two are with their respective Under-23 National Team for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Nagaworld FC – WWWDL

11/08/17 Hougang United 4-1 Nagaworld FC

29/07/17 Boeung Ket FC 1-1 Nagaworld FC

24/06/17 Nagaworld FC 14-0 Svay Rieng FC (Hun Sen Cup)

17/06/17 Nagaworld FC 3-1 Kirivong Sok Sen Chey FC

01/06/17 Balestier Khalsa 3-4 Nagaworld FC (RHB Singapore Cup)

Hougang United – DDDLW

11/08/17 Hougang United 4-1 Nagaworld FC

04/08/17 Hougang United 0-1 Warriors FC

29/07/17 Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Hougang United

13/07/17 Hougang United 2-2 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)

10/07/17 Home United 1-1 Hougang United (The New Paper League Cup)